North Battleford Mayor Ryan Bater took a few minutes at the start of a city council meeting Monday to express his sympathies for everyone involved surrounding the death of Colten Boushie.
He also spoke about the difficult trial process that took place over the past two weeks.
On Friday, a jury announced its verdict of not guilty in Gerald Stanley's trial at Court of Queen's Bench. Stanley had been facing a charge of second degree murder in the fatal shooting of Boushie, from Red Pheasant First Nation, on Stanley's farm yard property in Aug. 2016.
“Many people were impacted by that incident, and the recent trial... A lot of families were impacted," said Bater. "This has been very difficult for a lot of people. [It’s] to recognize that there are people whose lives have been impacted by this forever."
The mayor continued, saying "at the same time we do not encourage any kind of behavior that is divisive, or could be damaging to other people."
"We maintain a respectful relationship with all our regional partners. Reconciliation efforts have been a priority for us for a long time."
The mayor went on to say the city has a “long history in our city of partnerships with the Indigenous community, going back to the first urban reserve in Saskatchewan – the first development of an Indigenous gaming model in Saskatchewan, health facilities, education facilities,” said Bater. “We have a lot of successes here and we want to continue that.”
Bater added it’s important to remember “we share this land and we have to work with our partners on making sure that the future is sustainable for all of us.”
Meeting with elders
Mayor Bater also spoke about the positive meeting the city had with the elders' council from Battle River Treaty 6 Health Centre.
This meeting focused around sharing ideas about the city's plans and learning about the history of North Battleford.
The mayor attended the meeting with Coun. Kent Lindgren.
Bater believes this is the first time North Battleford council has sat down with an elders’ council so he hopes to continue this work in the future.
The city also hopes to receive input from the elders on the city's plans in establishing neighbourhoods in North Battleford.
Bater said establishing more relationships with the Indigenous community is a priority for the city.
“The idea to engage with the elders was something we were quite excited about, to get feedback on some of the initiatives the city is introducing,” he said.
Bater said these initiatives could be anything from the permanent placement of the Treaty Six Flag to the city's plans to create names for neighbourhoods within the city.
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